Thinking Agility is like physical agility. The more often you try it the easier it gets. With agile thinking you can adapt your thinking style for each and every situation you encounter, ensuring you’re applying the most appropriate thinking to the situation at hand. It helps you deal more effectively with uncertainty and complexity enabling you to discover solutions where at first there may not seem to be any. It’s clear why it’s such a coveted skill and worth the effort to maintain. Here are some things you can do every day to become more agile in your thinking.
1. Become aware of your thinking
Start by discovering your current pattern of thinking. We use the HBDI® assessmentand the Whole Brain® Model to help people do this.
Doing this allows you to see where and how you pay attention. In the process, you might discover some blind spots—ways that your thinking preferences might not align with what’s going on in your world or with where you want to go.
2. Choose to flex your thinking
Our more than 30 years of research on the topic show you can shift your thinking patterns. You do it by willingly experimenting with other thinking styles—even if doing so is uncomfortable. Remember, discomfort is a sign that you’re learning.
Look for some “mind hacks” to help you through it. For example, if your lower preference for A-quadrant, analytical thinking is preventing you from finishing a technical project or task, rely on your stronger preferences to make those activities more enjoyable. Maybe you could build your energy and enthusiasm for the work by making a game out of it, or you might try reaching out to a mentor for support.
3. Regularly take the time to stop and think
Once you understand how to flex, then you can make it a regular practice to stop…and think…before you move into action.
More specifically, pause to think about your thinking— to be proactively aware of what thinking style is most appropriate for a specific situation, and then use it. In today’s environment, we are so task-oriented—and in such a hurry—that we rarely take the time to do this. Yet it’s never been more important.
Whole Brain® Thinking is about removing the limits, self-imposed or otherwise. So don’t let your thinking styles hold you back. Go ahead and declare your independence from single-minded thinking!
If you want to learn more about agile thinking, and flexing to solve problems, enquire about our ThinkAbout™ Problem Solving workshop.
This article was originally published in 2016. It has been updated in 2020 and republished to ensure our readers don’t miss out on valuable information.